Sep 192016
 
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Jonathan Casillas and Janoris Jenkins, New York Giants (September 18, 2016)

Jonathan Casillas and Janoris Jenkins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS 16 – NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 13…
The New York Giants gutted out a 16-13 win over the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The game-winning 23-yard field goal was kicked by Josh Brown as time expired on the clock. The victory improved the Giants record to 2-0, the first time the team has started the season with two wins since 2009.

Remarkably, the Giants beat the high-powered Saints without scoring an offensive touchdown. The Giants dominated the stat sheet, out-gaining the Saints in first downs (22 to 16), third-down efficiency (47% to 23%), total net yards (417 to 288), net yards rushing (64 to 41), and net yards passing (353 to 247). But the Giants fumbled the ball away three times (for a -3 turnover differential) and were halted on a 4th-and-goal attempt.

The story of the game for the Giants was their defense and special teams. In seven first-half possessions, the Saints only gained six first downs. They punted the ball away five times, had a field goal blocked, and kicked another field goal with their only productive drive of the first half (11 plays and 54 yards).

Meanwhile, the Giants offense bumbled and stumbled in the first half even though the team punted the ball away only once (on their first drive). The Giants had an impressive 14-play, 80-yard possession end on 4th-and-2 at the 3-yard line with an incomplete pass to wide receiver Odell Beckham. Then came three straight offensive possessions with fumbles – one each by running back Shane Vereen, wide receiver Victor Cruz, and quarterback Eli Manning.

The drama began after Manning’s fumble which gave the Saints the ball at the New York 25-yard line. The defense held and forced New Orleans to attempt a 38-yard field goal. Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins blocked the attempt. The loose ball was picked up by cornerback Janoris Jenkins who then raced 65 yards for the first score of the day for either team with 2:30 to play in the 2nd quarter. The Saints then responded with their one scoring drive of the first half. At the break, the Giants led 7-3.

The Giants missed a 53-yard field goal and the Saints punted early in the 3rd quarter. The Giants then put together an 11-play, 54-yard drive that ended with a 48-yard field goal by Josh Brown. The Saints responded late in the 3rd quarter/early in the 4th quarter with a 9-play, 74-yard drive that ended with 17-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Drew Brees. The score tied the game at 10-10.

The Giants immediately followed this up with an impressive 11-play, 74-yard drive that unfortunately stalled at the 1-yard line after facing a 1st-and-goal from the one. Brown’s second field goal of the day gave the Giants a 13-10 advantage with 8:46 to play. After both teams exchanged punts, the Saints tied the game after an 8-play, 47-yard drive set up a successful 45-yard field goal with 2:54 to play.

Then came the game-winning possession by the Giants as New York drove 70 yards in 11 plays. They converted two 3rd downs, including a 6-yard pass on 3rd-and-1 to wide receiver Sterling Shepard and a 34-yard pass to Cruz on 3rd-and-8 down to the Saints’ 2-yard line. After three kneel downs by quarterback Eli Manning, Brown kicked the game-winning 23-yard field goal with no time left on the clock.

Offensively, Manning finished the game 32-of-41 for 368 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions. His leading receivers were Shepard (8 catches for 117 yards), Beckham (8 catches for 86 yards), and Cruz (4 catches for 91 yards). The leading runners were Vereen (14 carries for 42 yards) and Rashad Jennings (13 carries for 27 yards).

Defensively, the Giants did not force a turnover for the second game in a row. The first sacks on the year were generated by safety Landon Collins and cornerback Leon Hall.

Video highlights/lowlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were defensive tackle Robert Thomas (illness), quarterback Josh Johnson, running back Bobby Rainey, running back Paul Perkins, wide receiver Roger Lewis, offensive tackle Will Beatty, and defensive tackle Montori Hughes.

Safety Mykkele Thompson injured his knee and right tackle Marshall Newhouse strained his calf in the game. Neither returned. Newhouse was seen after the game with his right foot in a boot. Running back Rashad Jennings had x-rays after the game and his hand was heavily wrapped.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Ben McAdoo and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

POST-GAME NOTES…
The Giants have won six consecutive games when holding the opposition to fewer than 20 points.

The Giants improved to 50-39-3 in home openers, including 3-4 in MetLife Stadium.

Ben McAdoo joined Dan Reeves (1993) and Joe Alexander (1926) as the only head coaches in franchise history to win their first two games as a Giants head coach.

This was the 30th game in which quarterback Eli Manning led the Giants to victory when they were tied or trailing in the fourth quarter.

Manning’s career yardage total increased to 44,762. That moved him past Drew Bledsoe (44,611) and into 10th place on the NFL’s career list.

The Giants scored on a blocked field goal for the first time since December 7, 2008, when cornerback Kevin Dockery scooped up a blocked attempt by Philadelphia’s David Akers and returned it 71 yards for a score.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The New York Giants have re-signed quarterback Logan Thomas to the Practice Squad and terminated the Practice Squad contract of linebacker Deontae Skinner. Thomas had been cut from the Practice Squad on Tuesday to make room for Skinner.

Thomas was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. The Dolphins claimed Thomas off of waivers from the Cardinals in September 2015 and the Giants claimed him off of waivers from the Dolphins in June 2016.

Skinner was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New England Patriots after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Patriots (2014-2015) and Eagles (2015-2016), the latter waiving him on August 22.

ARTICLES…

Sep 182016
 
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Sep 162016
 
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Olivier Vernon, New York Giants (June 15, 2016)

Olivier Vernon – © USA TODAY Sports Images

SEPTEMBER 16, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder) has officially been ruled as “questionable” for Sunday’s home opener against the New Orleans Saints. Defensive end Olivier Vernon (wrist) was added to the injury report but is “probable” for the game. Defensive tackle Robert Thomas (illness) has been ruled out for the second week in a row.

“If we would’ve had practice today, (Pierre-Paul) would not have practiced today,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “We’ll take a look at him tomorrow. He’ll have an opportunity to get out on the field tomorrow at practice and we’ll go from there… We’ll look at him tomorrow and see how he feels. See how he wakes up the next day and recovers.”

When asked if he was concerned about Vernon, McAdoo responded, “There is always concern when someone is on the injury report.”

THE COACHES SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no press availability to the team on Saturday. The Giants play the New Orleans Saints at home on Sunday afternoon at 1:00PM EDT.

Sep 162016
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (November 1, 2015)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Game Preview: New Orleans Saints at New York Giants, September 18, 2016

THE STORYLINE:
The opening day victory against the Dallas Cowboys was huge. The obvious goal now is to get off to a 2-0 start by winning the home opener against a team that has given the Giants issues in recent years. Steve Spagnuolo and his defensive unit were humiliated last season as the Saints put up 52 points against New York. That marked yet another game where the Giants struggled on defense against an elite quarterback, in this case Drew Brees, who has had some of his best games of his career against the Giants. Enter Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple, and Darian Thompson. We’re about to find out how much things have really changed on the defensive side of the ball.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder) – questionable
  • DE Olivier Vernon (wrist) – probable
  • DT Robert Thomas (illness) – out

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
The Saints are going to put points on the board. So will the Giants. The traditional ways to approach this game are to either (1) slow the game down, maintain possession, and keep the Saints explosive offense off the field; or (2) be aggressive against a terrible defense and beat the Saints at their own up-tempo game. In the dome in New Orleans last year, the Giants got into a shootout and Eli Manning threw six touchdown passes – yet the Giants lost. But now the defense is improved. So the temptation will be to attack, attack, attack against a weak cornerback group that just lost its best player. That said, Ben McAdoo also has to like what he saw out of his ground game against Dallas last week combined with the possibility of wet weather on Sunday.

The 4-3 Saints defense is not good. They lack talent at all three levels. But they do have some strength down the middle with ex-Lion Nick Fairley at defensive tackle, ex-Ram James Laurinaitis at middle linebacker, and Kenny Vaccaro and Jairus Byrd at safety. Right defensive end Cameron Jordan is a very good player. We’ll get a far better read on Ereck Flowers this week. This is a match-up that could be a problem for the Giants. I’d be tempted to shift a tight end over there to help out Flowers. The cornerback situation for the Saints is a mess. Their best corner – Delvin Breaux – is out and all they are left with are no-names with little experience.

If I’m the Saints, I play it safe on defense, give up the underneath plays, and force the Giants to drive the field without making mistakes (penalties, negative yardage plays, turnovers). If they aggressively challenge Eli Manning, I think Odell Beckham, Sterling Sheppard, and Victor Cruz will eat them alive with big plays down the field (assuming the weather cooperates). But if the Saints play off with more defenders in coverage, like I suspect, then Manning will have to be patient and the ground game will have to produce. And like against the Cowboys, the Giants need to score touchdowns rather than field goals in the red zone. My guess is this is a game where Shane Vereen could possibly thrive as a runner and receiver. I think the short pass to him will be there all day long.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
Drew Brees loves playing the Giants. But historically this Saints team is not the same on the road as it is at home, including against the Giants (see Giants 52-27 win in 2012 at the Meadowlands). And the 2016 New York Giants defense is not the 2015 version. Brees and the Saints are going to score. The key is to limit the damage. New Orleans is very, very good at converting on 3rd down and keeping drives alive. Again, weather could play a factor here too.

Brees is the heart-and-soul of the offense. He makes it go. They key is pressure him, make him uncomfortable, without leaving gaping holes in the secondary for him to exploit (like last year’s game in New Orleans). I would not send a lot of blitzes but rely on the front four to apply pressure, and often utilizing the Nascar package when the down-and-distance enable the Giants to do so. This is a game where ends Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul can really make a difference. Brees is not a scrambler. The Giants can pin their ears back and get after him. Now the risk obviously is that Saints cross up the Giants with a heavy dose of running back Mark Ingram, but that’s a risk they are probably willing to take. The thought here is Damon Harrison and Johnathan Hankins can hold down the fort and limit the damage.

The Giants do match up well on the back end because of their corners. Janoris Jenkins seems to have the ideal skill set versus the quick and speedy WR Brandin Cooks. I’d use Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple to take out the other wideouts – Willie Sneed and Michael Thomas. The Saints will probably try to free up Cooks by moving him to the slot quite a bit. Ex-Colt tight end Coby Fleener was added in the offseason, but so far he has not produced as expected. Still, given the Giants poor history of defending tight ends in recent years, the defense needs to account for him.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
The Saints have good coverage teams and Ben McAdoo has voiced his concern that the Saints will take some chances with trick plays on special teams. Josh Brown returns from suspension and a butt-load of negative media. It will be interesting to see how he responds.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Ben McAdoo on Saints DE Cameron Jordan: “Jordan is a guy that is a very talented player, as well. He’s a guy that can wreck a game and destroy a game. We have to make sure we’re aware of where he is. He’ll line up in multiple spots.”

THE FINAL WORD:
Many Giants fans are gun-shy of the Saints because of recent history when playing them down in New Orleans. But the Giants match-up extremely well with the Saints on both sides of the ball. Look for the Giants to win by at least 10 points.

Sep 162016
 
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Sep 162016
 
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